Posted tagged ‘family fun’

The Haggard Sisters

June 18, 2009

I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton, but I must agree with what she said about  “It takes a village to raise a child”.  I’ve come to realize the truth to this statement as I have reflected on all the people in my life who helped to raise me.  My parents, of course, but so many more people impacted my life, and helped to shape and develop my personality, spirituality, goals and dreams, and all other aspects of my life. 

Through this blog, I am chronicling my life story.  I have mentioned my parents, grandparents, siblings, a couple of my aunts, and a high school music teacher.  A few weeks ago, my sweet Aunt Mable passed away.  She was 92.  She was my mother’s sister.  My mother and my Aunt Margaret preceded her in death.  You might remember Aunt Mable and Aunt Margaret from a previous blog post.  They were pranksters!  They are  in the picture below.

Seated -A. Margaret, Standing, L to R A. Mable, A. Wanda, A. Nina

Seated -A. Margaret, Standing, L to R A. Mable, A. Wanda, A. Nina

My aunts lived full lives.  They were fun people!  I want to be a fun person. 

I spent a lot of time with my maternal aunts, and my cousins.  We lived within a few miles of each other, so we were at each others houses often. 

Like Mother, Aunt Mable was an extraordinary cook.  She was the supervisor and head cook for a technological college in Knoxville for many years.  You talk about some good eating!  A family get-together, starring the prize winning dishes, cooked by my mother and aunts, was enviable.  I say prize winning, because they competed at the Tennessee Valley A & I Fair, and took home many blue ribbons for their baking.

Aunt Margaret was quite the seamstress.  She could sew anything!  And, she could do it without a pattern to follow.  She taught me a number of short cuts when I was learning to sew; things like how to sew in sleeves.  This tip saved me many hours of time.  She encouraged me in my sewing, and complimented me on a job well done.

Aunt Mable let me hang out with her as a teenager.  Her son, Phil, was a close friend, and we double-dated.  Mother and Daddy allowed me, on occasion, to go to Sunday evening services with Phil and Aunt Mable.  There may have been an ulterior motive in my wanting to go, since my boyfriend also went to that church.  On the way home, we would sing those old hymns we had sung in church.

Anytime any of us got together there was music, or singing, involved.  I particularly remember one incident with Aunt Mable.  Her daughter, Betty Lou, my sister Nene, my Aunt Wanda, and me in the car.  I don’t remember where we were going, but we started singing.  I unashamedly say that we harmonized amazingly as we sang “Country Roads, Take Me Home”, and a gamut of other songs.  It’s funny how a seemingly insignificant moment can create a memory that lasts a lifetime.

My Aunt Nina is one of the most unique individuals I have ever known.  She took great care of herself, long before exercise was a household word.  She could roller skate.  I was awed that she could skate backwards.  She swam and walked, to add to her physical regimen.  I love her laugh!  It’s contagious.   She was an encourager to me, too.  I was 15 years old, when she came over to the house one day.  I was sitting at the sewing machine.  She came over to look at what I was making.  “Pamela, you’re going to save some man a lot of money one day.”   she admired.  Her words echoed in my mind as I sewed clothes for my three daughters, and as I made various items for gift shops.  That one sentence gave me confidence in my sewing, a skill I was able to use professionally.

Aunt Wanda is the youngest of the sisters.  A career woman, she had a lot of wisdom to impart to my young, impressionable mind.  I look more like her than any of my other aunts.  She calls us twins.  I have many memories with my Aunt Wanda, but one that really stuck was when my husband was in Vietnam.  I was only 19 years old at the time.  All my friends were still dating; going out on the weekends.  I was lonely.   I had moved back home with my parents while my husband was gone to war.  One night, they invited Aunt Wanda to spend the night.  She loved being at our house as much as we enjoyed having her.  She slept with me that night.  We talked and laughed into the night.  She told me that she felt sorry for me, because I was so young ,and I was going through missing my husband. (We had our first anniversary while he was away.)  The tears started to flow from my eyes.  She was a strong comfort for me that night, and I’ve never told her that. 

Why am I telling you all of this?  It’s because they were mentors to me.  It’s because they believed in me, enabling me to believe in myself.  It’s because we should be aware of the kind of impact we are having on the lives of those around us.   

Are we creating memories, or are we simply existing?  Is our impact positive or negative?  What will be remembered about us, after we are gone? 

From my aunts I learned that:

1. Extended family is an important part of that village that raises us.

2. Encouraging words give hope.

3. If you don’t want to laugh, don’t hang around with the Haggard sisters.


Funny Things Happen At Church

November 30, 2008

Last weekend I had the best time!  It had been several months since I had the opportunity to go to Knoxville to visit with Donna and Nene,  so when I saw a break in my schedule I took advantage of it.  Did we ever make up for lost time!  We checked out a few restaurants, shopped, celebrated my nephew’s birthday, and sat around and talked about old times.  It didn’t take us long to launch the giggles. 

Any time we get together, one of our favorite topics of conversation is all the funny things that happened at church.  We generally revisit the same old stories, but this time a new memory emerged from the cobwebs of our brains.  Donna said, “Do you remember how we used to take the hymnal out of the rack during church and hold our fingers over the words to make up a new title?”  We dissolved into laughter as we recalled the various combinations.  “Where Is My Wandering Boy Tonight…..In The Garden” was one example.  “Yes, and we used to add words to the songs while we were singing, too.”  added Nene.  The corners of my mouth stretched far across my teeth as I held my tummy, enduring the sweet agony of laughter.  “Love lifted me….put me down.”  was one that I remembered, along with, “I was sinking deep in sin….yippee!”.  Oh my, we were so irreverant.  Playing hymn havoc was harmless.

We didn’t mean any sacrilege.  One has to understand that we practically lived at church.  We were there every time the doors were opened, and more.  We loved going to church, we loved God, and we didn’t like to miss any sessions, but sometimes acting up in church was worth getting a spanking, just to relieve the sameness of the routine.  Our happiest moments were spent in church, or at church functions.   We have shaken the pews many times with our uncontrolable observance of the hilarity of a given situation.  We can’t help it, it is engrained in our very being.  

Before I could read, I thought that to be able to sing those hymns you had to go to the front of the church and pray with the preacher.  After you prayed, you would somehow automatically know the words to the song. 

We didn’t have children’s church back in the day.  All the children were in the worship service with the adults.  Children worship in precious abandon and purity.  They also react to funny things….out loud!  If a soloist was bad, we laughed.  If a preacher got his “Ah Ha brother” going, we laughed.  If Billy Wilson was picking his nose, we giggled.  When Sammy Mitchell slid on the floor on his belly from the front pew and popped up on the back one, we snickered.  When his mother, Thelma, sat and flipped Samson’s socks during the “preaching”, we got tickled.  Honestly, what would you have done?  I don’t see how the adults kept a straight face.  Well…sometimes they didn’t.

Daddy was preaching, “There’s nothing more disgusting than these men running around in shorts.  They look like lemons with toothpicks stuck in them!”  I’m sorry, but that’s funny, I don’t care who you are.  The adults laughed.  I supposed there is an appropriate time to laugh in church.  Children don’t know the difference.

I still love going to church.  I look forward to the music, sermons, and fellowship.  Sometimes I get tickled.  My parents, if still living, would give me a good talkin’ to.  Somehow, I believe that they might be smiling along with me, nodding in agreement that it is okay to see the merriment of the funny things at church.  At least, I’d like to think so.